Introduction: Opt-in and Consent to Receive Messages
New standards set in place by major US carriers requires businesses to obtain consent from the recipients of their messages before texting them.
A business sending unsolicited text messages is illegal.
Obtaining consent from the people you are reaching with text messages allows you to message your contacts as you please.
Protecting mobile subscribers from unsolicited messaging such as spam, fraud, or abuse is the main reason opt-in and registration is mandatory.
What is Opt-in or Consent?
You need to have an opt-in process in place to allow for your contacts to consent to receiving messages from you.
There are many ways to Opt-into receiving messages from a business, including:
Signing up for your services or communications via a web or paper form
Receiving a Keyword to your MessageDesk account
Verbally request opt-in via a phone call or in person
If your opt-in process is sound, contacts should never be surprised to receive a text message from your business.
To learn how to create an Opt-In process keep reading. 😀
Creating an Opt-in Process
Creating an Opt-in process is not as scary as it seems, we promise.
It's all about providing a path for your contacts to consent to receiving messages from you.
If you already collect phone numbers from your contacts at a particular point in your business processes, that's the perfect time to collect opt-in/consent to send them text messages.
There are 2 different kinds of Opt-in processes, written and verbal. Here are some acceptable forms of opt-in you can use for your business:
Verbal: Phone Call or In-Person
These are called Autoresponders in MessageDesk
Written: Web Forms
These are called Forms in MessageDesk
These are called ChatBot in MessageDesk
Written: POS System
Written: Paper Form
When you complete your carrier registration, you are asked to describe the way that you collect opt-in/consent to reach your contacts. Once you have a process of collecting opt-in/consent you will use this to complete the carrier registration.
Verbal: Phone Call or In-Person
In some cases, you may be able to have contacts opt-in verbally. You can request to send someone periodic messages for informational purposes only via a phone call or in-person conversation.
When completing your carrier registration, you must describe this as your way of getting your contacts to opt-into receiving messages.
When using a written opt-in process, you need to make it clear that your contacts are opting into text messages.
Whether it's a keyword, form, chatbot, or otherwise it needs to include some sort of disclaimer of what they are opting into.
Written: Keywords (Autoresponders)
Your contacts can opt into receiving messages from you by texting a keyword to your MessageDesk account. For example, you can advertise the keyword 'SUBSCRIBE' or 'JOIN' so contacts can opt-into receiving messages from you.
It allows for your audience to text a phrase into your number and receive an automatic response.
To learn more about setting up Keyword Autoresponders in MessageDesk, you can visit the below article.
Written: Web or Paper Forms
When your leads or contacts are generated through sign-ups or by filling out forms/surveys, it is essential to provide them with clear information that providing a phone number implies their consent to receive SMS messages from your brand.
Do you have a website? This may be the option for you.
Forms are a great way to collect an opt-in from your audience as well as collect contact information. Whether it's a form on your website or a paper form it's an ideal place to collect opt-in from your contacts.
Here's an example:
Written: Widgets (Chatbot)
A chatbot or website widget is similar to a form. It's a small icon that sits on the bottom corner of your website thats designed to collect contact information.
When you click on it, it will ask for the contact information similar to a form.
As you can see, at the bottom of the form includes a disclaimer to opt-into receiving messages from this particular organization.
Once submitted, it will send an automatic message that confirms that the person has opted into text messages.
To learn more about setting up chatbots in MessageDesk, you can read the article below.
Written: POS System
You can collect text message consent on you POS system or your online store.
Here are some popular POS system providers where you can collect and get consent for messages:
FAQ about Consent
Here are some questions that we frequently get about consent!
Why do I need to collect opt-in?
You need to collect opt-ins to verify that your contacts actually want to be receiving your messages. It's also the law, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act requires you to collect express written consent to send marketing messages.
To learn more about why you need to collect opt-in, check out this article.
Why do I need to collect opt-in if I already registered with the carriers?
Registration is only part of remaining compliant. This is how your business is registered with the carriers to be approved to send messages.
You still need to get consent from your audience in order to send messages to them.